Basketball is one of the world’s most popular sports by far, just like Lucky Nugget Online Casino is one of the world’s most popular iGaming platforms. The sport requires a great level of athleticism and skill, making it the perfect medium through which to allow rising talents to shine.
In its 7 decades of existence, the National Basketball Association has seen dozens of stars steal the hearts of fans with their skills. Many of the NBA’s best players have even made it into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. You might be curious as to how many of these NBA stars have been named the greatest players of all time – and we’re here to tell you!
#8: Charles Barkley (1985-2000)
Barkley is best known for his stellar basketball performances with Phoenix, Houston and Philadelphia. Across his career, he managed to average a double of 22.1 points and 11.7 rebounds per game!
Barkley is listed at 5th in value over replacement players, and ranks just behind LeBron James and Michael Jordon in terms of career box plus/minus. The only downfall of his stint with the NBA is that he never managed to win an NBA championship.
#7: Karl Malone (1986-2004)
Malone was every defender’s worst nightmare in his heyday, putting up a 24 point and 10.1 rebound average per game across his career. Although he never claimed a championship, he still managed to impress the world with his illustrious 20-year basketball career. Between 1988 and 1993, The Mailman even managed to average 29 points and over 11 rebounds per game, but it was only after that period that he earned his 2 NBA MVP accolades. Malone sits at 3rd of all time in the advanced metric of value over replacement player.
#6: Elgin Baylor (1959-1972)
Baylor was one of basketball’s first all-round stars, despite having never won a championship. He did, however, lead the Lakers into 8 NBA Finals games in his 14 seasons in the game. Baylor averaged a massive 27.4 points and 13.5 rebounds per game across his career, ranking him 3rd of all time, ahead of icons like LeBron James. He was also named to the All-NBA squad no less than 10 times, and scored at least 50 points in 17 different games – the 5th highest rank of all time.
#5: Kobe Bryant (1997-2016)
The late Bryant was a winner of 5 NBA championships with the Lakers. Black Mamba stands tied for 1st of all time with 15 All-NBA choices, ranking 3rd of all time thanks to his 25 50-point games. Bryant also averaged 25 points per game during his career, putting him at 12th all time.
#4: Larry Bird (1980-1992)
Larry Bird was a formidable shooter for the Boston Celtics. He was so skilled that he led his team to 3 NBA Championships and 5 Finals appearances during the 80s alone. Larry Legend managed to amass averages of 10 rebounds, 24.3 points and 6.3 assists per game throughout his career. He also scored a whopping 59 triple-doubles; the 7th most of all time. He also ranks in the top 10 for career box plus/minus in playoffs and the regular season.
#3: Magic Johnson (1980-1996)
Was there ever a player more iconic than Magic Johnson? The Lakers legend averaged a triple-double during his career with 19.5 points, 7.2 rebounds and 11.2 assists across 16 years. He is also the only player in the NBA’s history to average over 11 assists per game, while his 138 triple-doubles rank him 2nd all time. He led his team to 4 championships, and ranks 4th in all time value over replacement player for playoff games.
#2: LeBron James (2004-Present)
James is certainly one of the world’s most talented basketball pros. He has a career stat line of 27.11 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.3 assists per game, but his advanced statistics are even more impressive.
James is the best in history when it comes to regular season and playoffs value over replacement player and career box plus/minus. He led the Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami Heat to 8 consecutive finals, winning 3 championships and forever cementing his reputation as an NBA legend.
#1: Michael Jordan (1985-2003)
Between Jordan and James, it is difficult to determine exactly who deserves the top spot on the list. Jordan is at #1 because of his unparalleled run in 6 NBA Finals and his undefeated offensive skills. Jordan is the NBA’s greatest scorer of all time, averaging 30.1 points per game.
He was also excellent on defence, averaging 2.35 steals in every game. This put him 3rd in NBA history and earned him a spot in the Hall of Fame. To top it all off, he even ranks 1st all time in win shares per 48 minutes in both playoffs and regular season games!